(CBS/AP) STEUBENVILLE, Ohio - An eastern Ohio couple pleaded guilty Tuesday to child endangerment charges after they forced their three children into plastic storage boxes sealed with duct tape and leaving only a square cut in the top for air.
A prosecutor said the children, ages 5, 6 and 8, were crammed into the boxes on June 16, 2012 as punishment while the parents went to the grocery store and left two uncles at home with them. A friend of the family arrived at the Steubenville home, got the children out of the boxes and contacted police.
Their father, James Taylor, pleaded guilty to two counts of child endangerment and one count of unlawful restraint. The plea deal calls for a year in jail. His wife, Samantha Taylor, the children's stepmother, pleaded guilty to the same charges and will likely serve two years of probation.
The two uncles pleaded guilty to unlawful restraint and were sentenced to a year of probation. Prosecutors said they helped put the children in the boxes, with one of them cutting the air holes.
Authorities said the children were in the boxes for about 15 to 30 minutes, with square holes cut out of the lids to expose the top part of their faces. There was no indication that they had been put in the boxes before, but Jefferson County prosecutor Jeffrey J. Bruzzese said it was part of a cycle of abuse by the parents that included dropping weights on the children's feet.
Bruzzese told WTOV-TV that the children are now living with relatives and doing well.